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Google's War against Wordpress! Is it BAD for SEO? Post-Panda questions and advice!

Discussion in 'Google' started by spycraft, Dec 11, 2011.

  1. #1
    No, I cannot say with certainty that Google HATES Wordpress. That is a very bold statement to make since at least 50% of the blogs out there (if not more) are made through WP. Am I saying that if you make your blog in Wordpress then Google will ban or penalize you? Of course not. That would be stupid. I am, however, saying that Google does not particularly like WP anymore, mainly because 99% of spammers use it.
    SEMrush
    I decided to start this thread due to another thread on the issue. I first thought of the possibility of WP being bad for SEO back in July, and since then I keep seeing people talking about this, so I decided to share my findings and see what you think.

    70% of my WP sites (I have over 100 sites) were in the top 10 results for my main keywords in June. Some had been in the top 10 for over a year, some for over 6 months, and others got there recently. In July, almost all of them dropped to the 100s.... almost at the same time. That is definitely not the result of being outranked by a few authoritative sites. That's the result of a penalty (either manual or algorithmic).

    Now, why did I get a penalty? Let's look at some common and potential reasons behind a penalty.

    1) Duplicate content

    2) Over-optimization, Keyword Stuffing, etc

    3) Linkbuilding
    a) Sudden increase in links
    b) Same anchor text used throughout
    c) Links from "bad neighborhoods"
    d) Spammy links? Whatever you think of...


    Now, let's address each of those:

    1) All the articles in the sites are 100% unique. I am not talking about "copyscape passed" content and stuff like that. We all know that Copyscape can be trick - Google can't. I made SURE that all the articles were 100% unique and had absolutely no grammatical or syntax errors. And they were not unreadable articles written by non-native speakers or bots or anything of that sort... I wouldn't call them "QUALITY" (with capital letters), but they were as good as articles about random products/keywords like that could be. I am obviously not going to claim that my writers did extensive research on wooden desks, but I will certainly say that they took their time to write good articles that add value to the visitors.

    2) My sites were definitely optimized. All the articles on them were about the targeted keywords. But were they OVER-optimized? You tell me. The sites were comprised of 400-500 word articles, and they keywords were used 3-4 times in them. I also used a couple more different keywords (2-3) that were relevant to the niche within an article. For example, if my main keyword was "wooden desk with hutch", I would use that 3-4 times, and then I would also use keywords such as "cheap desk" or "desk drawers" as you would expect from an article about desks.. That's it.

    3a) I started my linkbuilding campaign and followed it throughout the creation of the sites. Yes, the sites did receive more links in some months than others, but it wasn't sudden and I am not talking about a huge number of links.

    3b) I varied the anchor text throughout the links. I used the main keyword, other relevant keywords, the site name and even pure URLs.

    3c and 3d) I never used any spammy linkbuilding methods. Never bought links, never submitted them to bulk low quality and spammy directories, never used spinned content for article directories or links-wheels etc etc... Every link that I built was at least up to my standards of quality, and I have high standards.

    I also never took part in any reciprocal link exchanges or anything else like that. Furthermore, my sites are all hosted on different C Class IP and they are not linked to each other, so it could not have been a domino effect.

    My Thoughts:

    Google had to figure out a way to filter all spammers/autoblogs/blogs with duplicate/rewritten content. Unlike what many SEOs (including myself at times) seem to think, Google does NOT know EVERYTHING.

    Consider the following:

    1) If you publish a post on your brand new blog, and I copy and paste it on my blog which is older and is being indexed regularly, then Google has to assume that I am the original writer.

    2) If I use a GOOD writer and ask him to rewrite an article, then Google will not be able to determine with certainty whether the article is unique or not.

    So there you have it. 2 possible scenarios that Google cannot (at least until now) handle with 100% accuracy. So, how does Google handle those? The same way you would if you were faced with the same problem. It comes up with "tells" to determine which sites were made for the search engines (ie. bad quality sites but highly optimized for search engines) and it penalizes sites that have a few of those "tells".

    At this point, I can almost say with certainty that ONE of those "tells" is using Wordpress with one of the default themes.

    My advice:

    If you plan to start a blog with WP, then I say you should reconsider. If you are set with WP, then I definitely recommend that you use a unique theme for your blog.

    Your thoughts?
     
    spycraft, Dec 11, 2011 IP
    casperl, GregH, Meedan and 1 other person like this.
    SEMrush
  2. danasurvey

    danasurvey Well-Known Member

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    #2
    Very informative post spycraft and I added to your reputation.

    My thought: If you're going to put a lot of hard work into your own blog or site, it would be well worth it to invest in your own domain.
     
    danasurvey, Dec 11, 2011 IP
  3. Samuispa

    Samuispa Greenhorn

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    #3
    If you post a bran new original article on a new blog.. And someone comes along and takes an exact copy and posts it on an old blog that is crawled and indexed on a regular basis, and google indexs this page before mine and Google does not know the original content post..

    But my post is dated before the person who copies it. Two things here the one who copies the post gets to place that info first, winning the keywords. But eventually Google finds my page and indexs the content. Does Google now penalize my site or the copied site? The copied site would have indexed first!
     
    Samuispa, Dec 11, 2011 IP
  4. spycraft

    spycraft Member

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    #4
    Danasurvey - Thank you, and I apologize for not specifying this... These are all sites on my own domains.. Self-hosted Wordpress.. not free blogs :)

    Samuispa, this is what I am saying.. Google will penalize you because you were indexed after the person who "stole" your content. In order to avoid such issues, Google had to develop a way to determine which sites are "quality" (and would not copy other peoples' work) and which sites are not... Unfortunately, the system they developed is far from perfect...
     
    spycraft, Dec 11, 2011 IP
  5. nasir55

    nasir55 Peon

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    #5
    very informative thread.thanks for sharing.
     
    nasir55, Dec 11, 2011 IP
  6. Ericaairie

    Ericaairie Peon

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    #6
    great information you have here. Thanks, spycraft! I think you're right with the WP theme, it has to be unique.
     
    Ericaairie, Dec 11, 2011 IP
  7. achmad ricky

    achmad ricky Peon

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    #7
    yeahhh raelly nice info , i think you' right, thanks.... i'll try hard...
    zz
     
    achmad ricky, Dec 12, 2011 IP
  8. spycraft

    spycraft Member

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    #8
    Thanks for your nice comments guys. But I am no expert... If I was, I would have not opened a thread like this one - I am puzzled, and big SEOs that have seen my sites (from DP and elsewhere) are puzzled too. These are not blogs with low quality content. Yet, they still dropped while other simple html sites with very few pages remained untouched by Panda...

    Any ideas?
     
    spycraft, Dec 12, 2011 IP
  9. digitalwebman06

    digitalwebman06 Active Member

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    #9
    thanks it was really interesting. WordPress has made the web development process the SEO process so easy so that Google started the war :)
     
    digitalwebman06, Dec 12, 2011 IP
  10. jlaurier

    jlaurier Greenhorn

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    #10
    Dear Spycraft, i witnessed the same issue than you.

    I have several wordpress blogs. I had good rankings until June and everything is gone.

    What i did and didn't for SEO before:
    1. I tried to include valid keywords in my text and put it in URL and Titles
    2. I did lots of advertisements in forums to get links to my website URL (not only homepage but also URL).
    3. I never added any post tags
    4. I created a page with an HTML site map
    5. I created a XML sitemap


    What i did
    I discovered googlebot indexed folders like authors/admin or page/2/ or page/2011/06/ rather than link to post like /mypost/
    So i installed a SEO plugin (Ultimate SEO) to avoid this kind of thing. I ticked the option to impose no index robot browsing for tags,pages,archive,date categories,categories

    I checked google official talk about duplicate content. They said they don't consider page with multiple URL pointing to it as duplicate content. However, I am convinced you loose page rank when page/2/ is indexed rather than /mypost/ because you cannot take advantage of keywords in URL when google indexed page/2/ (this page contain several posts) rather than /mypost1/ and /mypost2/ I know it because i typed site:www.mysite.com in google and i have seen that /page/2/ or /page/2011/08/ were indexed rather than /mypost1/,/mypost2/ and so on.

    Then, i m now using the keyword tool for google, in order to see what are the most popular keywords. I rewrote my posts to change wordings for keywords.


    Now, i am waiting for results. Right now i have few visits from googlebot. I am wondering if it is due to the change after wordpress SEO plugin installation as i asked to impose a trailing / to url. So it is considered as 301 redirect. For all URL that switch from /URL to /URL/

    By the way i discovered 301 redirect slows down googlebot visits when it is done for the first time. Imagine you create 10 301 redirect. The first time googlebot discovers it, you get some kind of penalty ( i am sorry i call it like that) because googlebot will slower its visits.

    Bottom line:
    I am wondering if post tags are a bad things or not. I m wondering if it is considered as SPAM by googlebot.
     
    jlaurier, Dec 14, 2011 IP
  11. Allthebest

    Allthebest Peon

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    #11
    I agree with you wordpress blogs not creating problem with google. I have several of blog running on WP all are ranking well on search engine. Even WP blogs rank high then other blog.
     
    Allthebest, Dec 14, 2011 IP
  12. contentboss

    contentboss Peon

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    #12
    I'm seeing WP blogs rising rapidly.

    That is, as long as they aren't too 'long tail'.

    Long Tail is (after crappily spun content) the easiest 'catch' for a search engine.

    After all, if YOU were Google, and you found a site holding nothing but 20,000 vaguely similar articles about 'Wisconsin Rechargeable Dog Bark Collar' what would YOU think?

    1) Wow!. Someone in Wisconsin is REALLY into dog collars of the rechargable type! I'd better rank this valuable recource very highly!

    or

    2) F*ck off Spammer.
     
    contentboss, Dec 14, 2011 IP
  13. weboved@gmail.com

    weboved@gmail.com Peon

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    #13
    i think that all your factors was to agressive for google... and tell please how many servers/ips you used? i dont think that the problem is in wordpress, its thousands of web-sites only at usa, so...
     
    weboved@gmail.com, Dec 14, 2011 IP
  14. TSG

    TSG Member

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    #14
    Oh my god you have more-than 100 sites? Are you update them weekly?
     
    TSG, Dec 14, 2011 IP
  15. golfpro1

    golfpro1 Peon

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    #15
    It would not come as a shock, but it would be strange for Google to penalise something that is used by the majority
     
    golfpro1, Dec 15, 2011 IP
  16. jlaurier

    jlaurier Greenhorn

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    #16
    UDPATE:
    I disabled the Feed. In fact i did it after i witnessed WP feeds contained permalinks like ?p=170 rather than /mypost/
    I also cleaned up my robots.txt since i didn't need to disallow feeds or directory. It means i removed entries like disallow: /feed

    Guess what ?

    Googlebot is coming back and my page rank is back.

    I can't tell you exactly what was the cause... but one action in the above list made it better.

    When i hear people here, i am really suspicious. When i especially here, my blog is the first for some keywords on google with a default install of Wordpress. It is hard to believe. The default install of wordpress is really not made for googlebot as a page has multiple URLs. Feed are everywhere and make it even more complicated (if you have a wordpress blog, open it in google chrome and add /feed/ to any of your page, you will understand what i am talking about).

    As i am talking, googlebot is visiting my blog every 20 minutes.
     
    jlaurier, Dec 15, 2011 IP
  17. simple007

    simple007 Well-Known Member

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    #17
    Are you serious ? how about blogger sites ? any info
     
    simple007, Dec 15, 2011 IP
  18. neeshu

    neeshu Well-Known Member

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    #18
    its never about unique content or content for that matter i have seen blackhatworld and other forums people rip the sites and make a copy of it and get same pr 4-5 on their copied sites, if content was what google wanted sites like rapidsearch, rapidleech would never show up in google search there are mere search engines they have no content its just over experimentation by google
     
    neeshu, Dec 15, 2011 IP
  19. YMC

    YMC Well-Known Member

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    #19
    I suspect it has less to do with Wordpress and more to do with how the blogs are set up. WP is designed to make blogs not 'sites'. It can take days of work, but if you use WP as a CMS instead of a blogging platform you'll probably see your results come back.

    Use permalinks, use category pages correctly, drop the index by month links (who the heck looks up stuff that way anyway?) and use excerpts.

    Spend the time creating a 'site' and you'll be a jump ahead of all the install a blog, fill it with articles and get rich quick folks.
     
    YMC, Dec 16, 2011 IP
  20. thsadmin

    thsadmin Notable Member

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    #20
    I have no issues with wordpress... I love it and always have. The issue with people grabbing your content and using it before yours... Ping Google first and if your sites decent enough - your posts should be indexed within minutes and Google will also crawl it pretty quick. There's to much fear in this industry - just focus on new content and fresh content - focus on trends and what's hot now and you'll get better results. Use correct SEO and practices and you'll be fine. I personally think that if you had one huge site - instead of 100 you'd be much better off... 100 sites sounds like spam already - care to link us to some of these sites?
     
    thsadmin, Dec 17, 2011 IP